Joanna Bauspies fought back tears in court Friday as she addressed the East Troy man who was in the apartment where her son, David, was fatally shot during a game of drunken Russian roulette.
David’s 8-year-old son Chase has struggled without his father, she told the court, and David’s brother Chad has needed psychiatric help.
Tyler Odell, who was convicted in April of party to homicide by negligent handling of a dangerous weapon, wasn’t the person who shot David Bauspies. But Odell should have done things differently that night, Joanna Bauspies said.
“Chase will grow up without his dad. He lies in bed at night, unable to sleep, and tells me he misses his dad,” she said. “Your actions on January 2, 2017, changed many lives forever. If you hadn’t supplied the drugs, the gun, the one bullet, Robert Sterling would not have had a weapon to shoot and kill David.”
Walworth County Judge Kristine Drettwan sentenced Odell, 23, on Friday to the maximum five years in prison and five years of extended supervision.
On the day of the shooting, David Bauspies, 36, and his friend Robert Sterling were helping Odell move into his new home in East Troy. He and Sterling, both of McHenry, Illinois, were drinking when Odell brought out his .44 Magnum revolver and proposed a game of Russian roulette. Odell loaded a bullet into the revolver and handed it to Sterling. The gun fired, hitting Bauspies in the face and killing him.
Walworth County District Attorney Zeke Wiedenfeld cited a 2015 incident in which Odell damaged somebody’s vehicle and then changed his story about it.
“Although cars can be fixed, these cases are different because David can’t be brought back,” Wiedenfeld said. “He (Odell) is somebody who associates with criminals and gets himself into trouble. He is not somebody who is forced into these situations by others. He is somebody who makes his own choices to break the law.”
Wiedenfeld said Odell was the only sober person in the room and chose to bring out the gun.
“It is because of his actions that David is dead,” Wiedenfeld said. “Tyler is the one that put things into motion.”
Prosecutors said Odell has been in fights while in jail and has been caught trying to sell prescription drugs to other inmates.
Members of Odell’s family asked for leniency in letters to the court.
Odell’s mother, Julie, wrote that her son had endured hardships, including the death of his father, with whom he had a close relationship. She said she believes Odell has Asperger’s syndrome, a mild form of autism.
“I know for a fact Tyler would never have done anything to intentionally hurt someone,” his mother wrote.
Stephen Govin, Odell’s lawyer, asked for three years in prison and three years of extended supervision. He said Odell is sorry about what happened and that he is a high school graduate who has goals.
Odell apologized in court Friday.
“There is nothing that I can say that will make them feel better,” he said. “Bobby (Sterling) and I never meant to hurt anybody. To put it frankly, we were stupid.”
Drettwan said she appreciated Odell’s words but needed to protect the public.
“It is every parent’s nightmare to lose a child in any way,” she said.
“When this is all said and done, you will be able to go on with your life because you are young,” Joanna Bauspies said. “But for the rest of us, our lives will be changed forever and never be the same.”
Correction: This story was updated on July 2 to reflect Tyler Odell's correct community of residence, East Troy.